Reviews

In Manchuria

February 25, 2015

Michael Meyer’s In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland And The Transformation of Rural China is a beautifully written blend of memoir, travel account, history and social commentary. In 2011, Meyer moved to his Chinese wife’s hometown–a Manchurian village with what proved to be the inappropriate name of Wasteland. He had lived in Beijing for several […]

Read the full article →

Lincoln’s Greatest Case–Sort Of

February 17, 2015

Brian McGinty (The Oatman Massacre) uses his skills as both attorney and historian in Lincoln’s Greatest Case: The River, The Bridge and The Making of America. In May, 1856, the steamboat Effie Afton hit a pillar of the Rock Island Bridge–the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi. Both steamboat and bridge caught fire. The Effie […]

Read the full article →

Fatherland

February 11, 2015

If you dismiss history told in comic book graphic form* as the non-fiction equivalent of Classic Comics, you’re missing out. At its best, graphic non-fiction uses visual elements to tell stories in new and powerful ways.** In her graphic memoir, Fatherland: A Family History, Serbian-Canadian artist Nina Bunjevac tells the blood-soaked history of the former […]

Read the full article →

Cities of Empire

January 9, 2015

In Cities of Empire: The British Colonies and the Creation of the Urban World, historian Tristram Hunt (author of Marx’s General) explores Britain’s imperial history through the lens of the formerly colonial cities that he argues are her greatest legacy to the modern world. Hunt organizes his work around ten cities and their role in […]

Read the full article →

In which I recommend some of my favorite history blogs

January 5, 2015

Working on the assumption that if you enjoy History in the Margins you might enjoy other history blogs, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites for your reading pleasure. Some appear every day. Some appear on a schedule known only to their creators. All of them are blogs that I greet with glee […]

Read the full article →

A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III

December 30, 2014

Quick, name two things you know about King George III of England. If you’re an American, I’m pretty sure I know what you said: He held the throne during the American Revolution. If you’re a history buff (and I assume you are), you may have added that on July 4, 1776 he wrote “Nothing of […]

Read the full article →

There Was and There Was Not

December 16, 2014

As I’ve mentioned in the past, historical subjects sometimes track me down, screaming “learn more about me, dagnabbit!” Over the last few years, the Armenian genocide *–and the controversies surrounding the existence of that genocide in modern Turkey–has been tracking me down in an on-again off-again way. I first became aware of the genocide, and […]

Read the full article →

Medieval People

December 2, 2014

In Medieval People: Vivid Lives in a Distant Landscape, historian Michael Prestwich [author of Knight: The Medieval Warrior’s (Unofficial) Manual] challenges generalities about the Middle Ages* by looking at the specific: biographies of 69 people who lived between 800 and 1500, a period that stretches from Charlemagne’s empire to the early Renaissance. Prestwich’s choice of […]

Read the full article →

Stalingrad

November 21, 2014

The Pritzker Military Library offers a smaller event alongside its On War symposium: a chance for a limited number of people to meet with the winner of the year’s lifetime achievement award to discuss one of his books.  Last year I wasn’t bright enough to sign up. This year I didn’t hesitate.  The chance to […]

Read the full article →

A History of America in 36 Postage Stamps: A Review and a Giveaway

November 18, 2014

In A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps, Chris West took the concept of micro-history to a new degree of micro, using a chronological series of postage stamps as “tiny rectangular time machines”.   In his newest work, West uses the microscopic lens of the postage stamp to examine American history. West cleverly opens A […]

Read the full article →